Autodesk Inventor 2018 is here (read more here) and is chalk full of updates, enhancements, tweaks, and other goodies. Part Modeling 2018 got the biggest piece of the update pie, with some of the most significant updates within this year’s Inventor release
The concept of documenting and detailing the 3D model is not a new concept. The idea is to forgo 2D drawings and replace them with the 3D model containing all the dimensions and annotations required to manufacture the component.
In the 2012-2013 time period, Autodesk toyed with the idea with the 3DA add-in for Inventor (was available on Autodesk Labs). Autodesk was excited but found a collective “meh” from the intended audience based on the feature set presented to them. No one really jumped up and down with excitement, Autodesk didn’t get the warm and fuzzies, and development was put on hold…. drum roll… until now!
Inventor 2018 contains Model Based Definition workflows to generate 3D Annotations within the Part Modeling 2018 environment.
We’ll be covering this in a “deep-dive” coming up later this month.
What’s the very first thing just about everybody said when Autodesk added multi-body sheet metal support? Can I have different styles and thicknesses per body?
The answer before 2018 was NO. Well, that is no longer the case as Inventor 2018 now supports multiple thicknesses and styles.
The unique style is set with the Face, Contour Flange, Lofted Flange, and/or Contour Roll. Within these dialogs, disable Follow Defaults and select the desired rule.
You can also right-click a solid body within the browser and select the desired Sheet Metal Rule.
The new Distance from Face extents option within Part Modeling 2018 is phenomenal when you want to use one central sketch to build multiple features at different starting locations.
With this new feature, you specify the starting face or workplane and the desired distance.
With Simple Holes use the new symmetric option to extrude the hole in two directions. The Hole dialog termination buttons now match the Extrude dialog, providing consistency and easier identification.
Spotface holes support zero bore depths, which is useful for termination faces on a body.
Utilize the new Extend Start feature to extend the hole to the first place of intersection… aka remove the slivers or pieces of geometry not cleaned properly by the hole.
With the new Partial option generate Chamfers that bevel only part of an edge. Using the Partial settings specify the chamfer based on a combination of the starting point, ending point, and chamfer distance. The Driven Dimension Type sets the value being driven by what you specify for the other two options.
Within the Parameters dialog, the new Consumed by column shows the features using the parameter.
Trim Surface contains an Apply button, making it so you can continue to trim surfaces without exiting the command.
Autodesk continues the trend started with Inventor 2017, which is improving and enhancing existing functionality.
I will admit to initially being a bit disappointed when I read the “what’s new” and the limited new features. It’s kind of like getting socks Christmas morning, but then discovering they are sweat wicking, liquid cooled, infrared heated, and Bluetooth enabled so that they can adjust the temperature based on the weather forecast…. disappointment turns quickly into excitement!
After using this version for a while, I have really come to love many of the enhancements and tweaks. The browser enhancements alone are worth the update as is the new 3D annotation workflow.
Inventor 2018 = 2017 + R2 + R3 + R4
For those moving to 2018 from a version older than 2017, start by reviewing our posts detailing the new features in Inventor 2017 as well as the mid-year subscription R2 and R3 releases.
Improvements to 2D graphic rendering for sketches, drawing views, and DWG Underlays
Faster component selection in drawings
Faster raster view rendering
With deferred drawings, Defer Updates is now available within the right-click context menu
Added View Preview (glasses) to the View dialog (bounding box vs. full preview)
Inventor 2018 introduces a view update delay so that as you edit the view scale the view doesn’t start to update with each number entered.
If Inventor cannot generate the full drawing preview within 3-seconds a progress bar now displays. By clicking Cancel, the preview option is disabled and a bounding box preview is shown instead.
The Open Drawing dialog now provides a drop-down for easier access to Defer Update. Similar to the Assembly Open dialog, this dialog is rearranged for easier and more consistant access to the tools and information.
Mini-toolbars no longer show by default for Extrude, Revolve, Fillet, Shell, Face Draft, Chamfer, and Joint. To re-enable (if you use them), use the Mini-toolbar option within the User Interface panel on the View tab of the ribbon.
CATIA R6 – V5-6R2016 is now available for import.
Inventor 2017 R4 introduces the ability to place newer versions of Inventor part and assembly files. This means, for example, that you can reference Inventor 2018 files within Inventor 2017 via AnyCAD. This also means you will be able to reference Inventor 2019 data within Inventor 2018.
DWG Underlays are now placeable directly into an assembly, without going into a part file first. The right-click menu on the DWG Underlay within the assembly browser now matches the features to the menu within a part. This includes Delete, Translate, Redefine, Visibility, and Layer Visibility.
Right-clicking on a DWG Underlay within the browser (part or assembly) now includes an Open in AutoCAD option to open the Underlay directly within AutoCAD.
DWG Underlay sketch geometry now automatically projects, similar to how model edges and other features do when creating a sketch.
Joints now align correctly to the Underlay geometry, which didn’t always occur within Inventor 2017.
The Simplify tab has been retired and merged into the Simplification panel on the Assembly tab.
The Shrinkwrap tools are enhanced with more control, an improved user interface, and an improved workflow. The workflow is identical whether starting with Shrinkwrap from the Simplification panel or by creating a new shrinkwrapped Level of Detail.
The Shrinkwrap dialog now contains three tabs:
Components for document type information like the representations and the tools for removing components. This includes the toggle to switch to viewing the included or excluded components.
Use Features tab to remove or preserve features
The Create tab contains the file related information, the style, and other settings
Presentations (IPN) now support surfaces. This includes window selection, applies tweaks to surface bodies, and using surfaces to orient the tweak triad.
Drawings views now support Meshobjects.
You can now add a border to text using the Text Border option.
Based on an Ideastation submission, PDF Drawing export settings are now persistentacross sessions. This includes the sheet range and the new option Display Published File in Viewer.
Part Modeling Updates and Model Based Definition
The enhancements to part modeling are covered in detail in these posts:
Model Based Definition Now within Inventor (Coming Soon!)
Whew! As you can see, even though Inventor is lacking new features, the list of enhancements, updates, and tweaks within Inventor 2018 is quite extensive. The highlights for me is easily the browser enhancements, Model-Based Definition, the updates to the Part Modeling tools, and the performance improvements. I’m sure many will love the changes to DWG Underlays and the ability to place them straight into an assembly.
All I can say is its time to dive in and get going!
AutoCAD 2018 is here! That’s right, it is that time of year again… time for another round of Autodesk upgrades. It’s like buying a new car, gotta love that new car smell!
AutoCAD is a bit light on the new features this year. I consider it almost 2017.5, as the majority of “what’s new” is extending the features introduced with 2017. Some nice-to-haves especially the performance improvements.
Added with the 2017.1.1 update (patch), AutoCAD 2018 continues with the support for higher display resolutions and pixel densities, including those on 4K displays.
2018 improves the performance of saving and 3D navigation. You’ll notice the save improvements in drawings with annotative scaling blocks, Mtext with columns, and multiline attributes. With the 3D navigation, Autodesk is claiming “significant” improvements with zoom, pan, and 3D orbit. You should no large experience visual degradation as you manipulate the view.
You can now disable Smooth Line Display, without disabling High-Quality Geometry.
To round out the technology updates:
the Bing map service is now at v8.0
iDrop is removed due to potential security risks
AutoCAD 2018 User Interaction
All dialogs related to file navigation (open, new, attach, etc) now remember the column sort order.
The Drafting Settings dialog is now resizable.
The Layer Control (aka Layer dropdown) is now an option within the Quick Access Toolbarmenu… and it’s about time! If you don’t currently have the Layer Control added to your Quick Access Toolbar drop everything you are doing right now and get-er-done.
The System Variable Monitor icon within the Status Bar now presents a menu when right-clicked. This provides access to commonly used features without needing to access the dialog.
When you begin a rectangular selection it no longer terminates as you pan or zoom to another part of the drawing (off screen)… BOOM!
2018 improves the linetype gap behaviour to include support for DGN linetypes, polylines with width, and splines. This is the feature that allows for the selection of an object by picking on the gaps in the linetype.
AutoCAD 2018 External References
AutoCAD 2018 includes many tweaks to External References.
The default path type is now Relative (opposed to Full). Don’t like this? Use the new system variable REFPATHTYPE to set the default… 0 for No Path, 1 for Relative Path, and 2 for Full Path.
Until 2018, Relative wasn’t available until the drawing was saved. Now the External References palette displays the full path with an asterisk until the host drawing is initially saved.
AutoCAD prompts to update the relative paths when saving a drawing to a different location,
The right-click menu within the External References palette includes two new options: Select New Path and Find and Replace.
Using Select New Path is for browsing for a new location for not-found (“broken”) references. Find and Replace is a great addition making it easy to replace paths with new locations.
Open is now available even when the External Reference is unloaded.
Finally, renaming a reference anywhere and anyway updates the listing in the External References palette automatically.
AutoCAD 2018 PDF Import
AutoCAD 2017 introduced PDF import, AutoCAD 2018 takes this to the next level adding support for SHX Text Recognition.
Why is this is important? Acrobat PDF does not understand SHX fonts. This means the fonts translate as geometry. Now 2018 will recognize this geometry as text, based on the font type you specify.
What else is new with PDF import?
PDF Import & Attach now show thumbnail previews
Issues with upside-down text is resolved
Improved PDF geometry scaling
Better Form data support
AutoCAD 2018 Text to MText
A long time Express tool, Convert to Mtext (TXT2MTXT) is bigger and better. What’s odd is that it has remained an Express tool. Driven by the new PDF import functionality, use the new workflow to import the PDF, recognize the Text, and convert to MText.
This includes selecting MText objects, in addition to text objects. This making it possible to merge Text and MText into a singular MText object.
A new Settings option on the commandline launches the Settings dialog.
Character Codes (like %%d) now translate properly from Text into Mtext. AutoCAD 2018 infers the Justification (Top left, middle center, etc) and numbered/lettered lists for the new MText object.
Lenovo is at SOLIDWORKS World 2017 and is using the opportunity to announce three new Lenovo workstations (mobile)… the ThinkPad P51s, ThinkPad P51, and the ThinkPad P71.
“Engineered to deliver breakthrough levels of performance, reliability and long battery life… designed to meet customer demands for a powerful but portable machine “
The ThinkPad P51s features a new, “clean sheet” chassis. This unit is a slimmed down Ultrabook build, over a half-pound lighter than the previous generation. This the lightest and thinnest Thinkpad ever produced by Lenovo.
Dimensions (W x D x H) = (mm) 365.8 x 252.8 x 19.95 – 20.2 | (inche:s) 14.4 x 9.95 x 0.78 – 0.79 | Weight 4.3 lbs (1.95 kg) +
Even with the low weight and slimmed down design, it provides a dual-battery solution for extended battery life. With the Power Bridge technology, you can hot-swap the rear battery.
15.6″ 4K UHD IPS display (4k ultra high-resolution) or FHD IPS 250 nites (1920 x 1080)
DDR4 – 2133 SDRAM memory (up to 32GB)
5400 rpm hard drive (up to 1TB) | NVMe PCle SSD (up to 1TB)
3 x USB 3.0, 1 x HDMI, & 1 x USB-C (Intel’s Thunderbolt 3 technology)
“Whether you’re designing a new building or working on the next supercar, the ThinkPad P51 will bring the power and portability you demand.”
The new ThinkPad P51 includes 4K IPS display with 100% color gamut and X-Rite Pantone color calibrator. These units are MIL-SPEC tested and offer a dual-fan cooling system to allow us to push these systems hard. The P51 offers 2400MHz DDR4 memory, the fastest memory available in a mobile workstation.
Dimensions (W x D x H) = (mm) : 377.4 x 252.3 x 24.5 – 25.9 | (inches) : 14.86″ x 9.93″ x 0.96″ – 1.02″ | Weight 5.6 lbs (2.5 kg)+
What’s in the box?
Intel Xeon E3-v6 Processors (for Mobile Workstations)
4 x USB 3.0, 1 x HDMI, 1 x Mini DisplayPort, 1 x USB-C (Intel’s Thunderbolt 3 technology)
“Lenovo’s first VR Ready mobile workstation, featuring brand new NVIDIA Pascal-based Quadro GPUs and full Oculus and HTC certifications.”
Like the P51, the ThinkPad P71 Lenovo workstations are MIL-SPEC tested and offer a dual-fan cooling system. The P71 offers 2400MHz DDR4 memory, the fastest memory available for a mobile workstation. With support for up to four storage devices, this unit provides massive storage for a portable device.
Dimensions (W x D x H) = (mm) : 416 x 275.5 x 29.9 – 31.5 | (inches) : 16.4″ x 10.8″ x 1.17″ – 1.2″ | Weight 7.6 lbs (3.4 kg) +
What’s in the box?
Intel Xeon E3-v6 Processors (for Mobile Workstations)
“Content creators working with demanding VR workflows require the most robust and reliable performance possible,” says Bob Pette, vice president, Professional Visualization, NVIDIA. “Lenovo’s VR Ready ThinkPad P71 mobile workstation with Quadro Pascal-based GPUs for mobile workstations provides the performance, features and memory required for creating the most compelling VR experiences anywhere.”
The Lenovo ThinkPad P51s will be available in March, starting at US$1,049. The ThinkPad P51 and P71 will be available in April, starting at US$1,399 and US$1,849, respectively.
Now that we know how to work with the Sheet Set Manager and add Sheets we’re going to dive in and explore how adding Sheet Views is accomplished. This is a continuation of our series taking a deep dive into AutoCAD Sheet Sets. If you’d like to start at the beginning, take a look at the table of contents.
The high-level overview of adding views…
Add the file locations to the drawings containing the views
Drag-and-drop model space views onto your Sheets
AutoCAD attaches the drawing as an XREF, generates a Viewport, and sets the scale
Location, Location, Location
First, you need a drawing open and it doesn’t matter what it is, or if you intend to keep it. Now, you can add the file locations to the drawings that contain the views. Using the Model Views tab, double-click on Add New Location. Browse to and select the folder containing the drawings.
Expand the drawing for the list of available model space views.
To remove a location, right-click on it. From the menu select Remove Location.
Drag-and-Drop to Add Views
To add the view to your drawing, drag-and-drop from the Sheet Set Manager onto the Paper Space Layout. AutoCAD generates a preview to aid in the positioning and scaling. To adjust the scale, right-click, and pick the desired scale. The preview updates so that you can position the view properly. Left click to place the Sheet Views.
As the view is placed a view callout is automatically placed. [We’ll dive into building these labels in a future post.]
Let the Magic Happen
As the view is placed, its drawing is attached as an external reference (xref) and inserted into model space. A viewport is created at the extents of the view and scaled according to the scale you’ve selected.
Once placed, the viewport created is a standard AutoCAD viewport. This means you can use standard features like grips, Properties, and the scale list to make adjustments.
Modifying the Scale List
Use SCALELISTEDIT to make changes to the available scales. These scales are available both during View placement from the Sheet Set Manager as well as when modifying an existing Viewport. This is something to consider saving within your template.
Building Model Views
Using the VIEW command, create Model Views of the portions of the drawing you want to add as views to your Sheets.
Start by clicking New and use the New View / Shot Properties dialog to define the new view. Specify the name and optionally a category. Categories are advantageous to group like views. The View type should be set Still.
Many of the options are only valuable when capturing 3D Views. Since you are creating views for a Sheet Set, the only important settings are the Boundary and saving the layer snapshot. Always leave the UCS as World, Live Section to <None>, the Visual style to Current or 2D Wireframe, and the Background as Default.
The Boundary can be either the Current display, if you like how you have zoomed into the drawing, or Define Window to pick the boundary of the view.
Enable Save layer snapshotwith view to capture the current state of the layers. This includes the ON / OFF state, Freeze / THAW, LOCK, and properties like the layer color. When restoring the view, AutoCAD also restores the saved layer state.
When you click OK the view is created and is listed within the Model Views list.
Now that we know how to create new Sheet Sets, let’s look at working within the Sheet Set. The Sheet Set Manager is the key tool for working with Sheet Sets within AutoCAD. In fact, it is the only tool for interacting with your Sets. So it goes without saying that if you want to use Sheet Sets, you need to become intimate with the Sheet Set Manager.
The Sheet Set Manager is launched from the View tab (Palettes panel) or by typing sheetset at the commandline.
This “Manager” is divided into three tabs, one for managing the sheets, another for managing the views, and the third for managing file locations. In this post, we’re going to explore the Sheet List tab, diving into working with the Sheets.
It’s a Palette
The first rule of using the Sheet Set Manager is realizing it is a palette. It behaves no different than any other palette in AutoCAD. This means it can be…
Set to Autohide
If you hover over a Subset or Sheet within the list a tooltip appears providing details about the item.
Using the Header
The second rule to working with your Sheet Sets is using the header tools. Within the header, you can Publish, Export, and Save Selections. These rely on the selection you’ve made within the palette.
The Drop Down within the header provides the means to create new sheet sets and open existing sheet sets. This additionally provides a list of recently accessed sheet sets, making it quick to open again.
Right-click is Where It’s At
Right-clicking within the Sheet Set Manager provides a context menu. The options presented are dependent on what you are right-clicking on.
At the top level, the menu provides options for working with the Sheet Set. This includes closing the active sheet set, accessing its properties, and resaving all sheets. When right-clicking on a Subset or Sheet you get similar options, but you are working with that specific sheet and/or subset.
Note the Import Layout as Sheet option which is used to import layouts from existing drawings. Resave All Sheets is a hidden gem of a feature in that it will save all sheets with unsaved changes.
Adding New Sheets
To add a new sheet, right-click within the Sheet Set Manager and select New Sheet. Where you right-click determines where the new sheet is added. For example, if you right-click on a Subset and select New Sheet, the new sheet is added to that Subset.
Using the New Sheet dialog you specify the sheet number and title. The File name defaults to the combined number & title, however, you can adjust it to be what you need it to be. Being able to specify the template is dependent on the Subset options.
Any sheet can be adjusted using Rename & Renumber. With this dialog, you adjust the sheet’s number and title. The Rename options allow you to specify whether the layout (drawing) is renamed to match the adjustments to the title and number.
To move the sheet within the list just drag-and-drop it to the desired location.
Utilize the Subset Properties dialog to create a new Subset. Start by specifying the name and whether a new subfolder should be created (Create Folder Hierarchy) to store drawings (sheets). The location will default to a new subfolder within the Sheet Set Location.
By setting Prompt for Template to Yes you’ll be able to select the template when creating a new sheet within the subset. If Prompt for Template is set to No, new sheets are created with the specified template with no option to override.
Right-click on an existing subset and select Remove to delete it. You will be unable to remove the subset if it contains sheets.
Utilize Insert Sheet List Table to insert a table listing all the sheets contained within the Sheet Set Manager. It will use the available Table Styles of the active drawing.
Live and In Action
With the new subsets and sheets created we can now start adding views. In the next part in the series, we will define new views and add them to the sheets within the Sheet Set.
Creating New by Example Sheet Set Welcome to part 3 of our deep-dive into AutoCAD Sheet Sets. In the last part, we explored creating new Sheet Sets to manage existing drawings. This is an excellent option obviously when you have drawings created outside a sheet set, yet you still want the options to manage them.… Continue Reading
Mike is back with the second part of his deep dive into AutoCAD Sheet Sets. In this episode, he looks how you can quickly build a sheet set to collect and then manage a set of existing drawings. Continue Reading